JERUSALEM, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have developed biodegradable plastic from seaweed in a process that does not require agricultural land or fresh water, Tel Aviv University published Tuesday.
Plastic, a polymer that has been processed for industrial use, is one of the biggest pollutant in the world.
Plastics take hundreds of years to degrade, so bottles, packaging and bags create plastic continents in the oceans, endangering animals and polluting environment.
In addition, plastics are made from petroleum products, and industrial processing releases chemical contaminants as a by-product.
A partial solution to the "plastic epidemic" is bioplastic, which is plastic made from biopolymers, such as plants or bacteria, which does not require oil and is rapidly degradable.
The problem is that to produce biopolymers, plants or bacteria must be grown in a process that involves the allocation of fertile soil in the case of plants, and freshwater in the case of plants or bacteria. This makes the transition to bioplastics problematic in water-poor countries like Israel.
Recently, the Israeli researchers have managed to produce biopolymers from organisms living in seawater.
The raw material for the research process was multicellular marine algae. It eats single-celled archaea, which also grows in very saline water, fermenting and producing the biopolymers.
The researchers are currently working on the accuracy of their method to find the best bacteria and algae for producing polymers for plastics with different properties.